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Boeing Patents Transformer-like Swimming Drone

This James Bond-worthy drone is designed with components meant to automatically separate when it hits the water.

Boeing Patents Transformer-like Swimming Drone
[Photo: Flickr user Naval Surface Warriors]
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If James Bond had a drone, it would soar through the skies in search of bad guys, and then dive-bomb into the ocean, seamlessly transforming into an underwater evil-lair-seeking submarine.

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Well, put down your popcorn–aviation giant Boeing has a patent for a drone that can pretty much do just that.

According to Forbes, Boeing’s patent, which was filed in 2013, and issued in April, describes a drone that becomes a small submarine the instant it splashes down.

Image: via USPTO

In its filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Boeing lays out its plans for a “a vehicle which is adaptable for both flight and water travel [and] configured to fly through air and to move through water.”

What’s not entirely clear from the filing is whether the patent describes a consumer drone–which would likely be handheld–or something more geared toward military or law enforcement. Given the drawing of the proposed device, it seems more likely it’s the latter.

The basic idea is that the flying vehicle would be designed to separate upon entry into the water. That might be achieved with explosive bolts or “salt water soluble glue to maintain [airborne] component attachment.”

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It’s unclear how Boeing intends to utilize its invention, if indeed it ever comes to pass. But one thing is clear: It would be a treat to watch this thing go full Transformer. For that reason alone, let’s hope Boeing builds this.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications

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